Dear Aamir Khan,
I grew up watching your films. I loved you, admired you for the various characters that you essayed on the silver screen. Your last name never mattered to me. I never bothered to see if you belonged to a community different from mine. I was only interested in seeing your films and showering you with praises.
Your performances in ‘Sarfarosh’ and ‘Lagaan’ moved me to tears. I could see you expressing my emotions for my country through these films. I believed you were a patriot. And I still know you are one!
However, your recent comments on the “growing intolerance” in India have disillusioned me. I don’t really wish to scrutinize every word you uttered. But I do intend to tell you that you have disappointed me.
You picked up isolated cases of intolerance and said that these alarmed you. But these cases neither echo the secular sentiments of the democracy at large, nor does the majority in the country endorse such acts of intolerance.
“Ek taraf pyaar Hai, chaahat hai, wafadari hai
Ek raraf desh mein, dhoka hai, gaddari hai
Bastiyaan saahmi hui, saahmaa chaman saara hai
Gam mein kyoon dooba hua aaj sab nazara hai
Aag pani ki jaga abh ao barsayege
Leh lahate huey sab khet jhulas jaayenge”
This is an extract from a patriotic song from your film ‘Sarfarosh’ which released in 1999, precisely 16 years back! Interestingly, the description of the state of affairs in the song mirrors that of today. It was no different then. It was no better than now!
Crime and violence of varied nature are universal. It is not specific to India alone. They have happened in the past, happen now and may happen in future irrespective of which government is at the centre and which party is ruling.
However, you chose to voice your concerns now and not earlier. Your wife feels
strongly that the atmosphere isn’t conducive enough for her family to continue staying in this country which has made you what you are today.
While speaking at an event, you said, “I feel there is a sense of insecurity, there is a sense of fear... I think in the last 6 months...8 months, there has been a growing sense of despondency...Kiran and I have lived all our lives here...for the first time Kiran says we will move out of India...it is a very disastrous and a big statement for Kiran to make to me....She fears for her child...she fears what the atmosphere around us will be...she feels scared to open the newspapers everyday. So that does indicate that there is sense of growing disquiet, there is a sense of growing despondency...So that sense does exist in me to be quite honest.”
Does that mean that there wasn’t a single case of violence earlier? Were no crimes committed earlier?
And if there is a growing sense of despondency, could you please cite one instance where your family was threatened, troubled or abused? You are shooting for you next – ‘Dangal’. Had India been “intolerant”, you wouldn’t have been able to shoot for your film at ease. Your previous release ‘PK’, which was controversial though, raked in the moolah at the Box Office and was much appreciated by the same country.
Nitpicking wouldn’t really help you in this case Aamir. By saying “there is a sense of fear”, you have questioned the nation and its people and above all hurt fans like me, for whom, nation’s pride and dignity are dearer than a reel hero like you.